By Iuri Melo
My friends, it is with great pleasure that I address the burning question that has plagued humanity for centuries: How do I break a bad habit? I applaud your courage for seeking guidance on this journey towards self-improvement. Today, I aim to equip you with the tools and strategies necessary to conquer those unwanted habits that hinder your growth and happiness.
Let us begin by acknowledging the power of habits. Our brains are magnificent pattern creators, tirelessly creating shortcuts that allow us to navigate life effortlessly. However, this same system can also lead us down a path of self-destruction if not managed wisely. We must recognize that beneath these habits lie deep-rooted beliefs and ideas that either perpetuate or hinder their existence. Imagine a tree—instead of simply pruning its branches, we must strive to sever the roots.
Awareness is the first step towards change. By observing ourselves and our habits, we gain insight into our behavioral patterns. Often, blind spots obstruct our view, and seeking the help of others can shed light on areas we may have overlooked. Remember, you are not defined by your habits—they are malleable, and you possess the power to transform.
To break a bad habit, we turn to the wisdom of James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits.” Clear outlines four rules to create successful new habits, which can be applied in reverse to break existing ones. Let’s delve into them.
1. Make it invisible: Remove temptations and triggers associated with your unwanted habit. Hide, delete, or password-protect anything that facilitates its occurrence. Surround yourself with people who engage in different activities, and spend time in environments that discourage your old patterns.
2. Make it unattractive: Reflect upon why you want to break the habit. Connect with the deeper meaning and consequences behind your decision. Write down your reasons, reinforcing your commitment to change.
3. Make it difficult: Modify your environment to make it challenging to engage in the habit. Identify factors that enable its continuation and make adjustments accordingly. By creating obstacles, you increase the effort required to maintain the behavior.
4. Make it unsatisfying: Associate negative outcomes with your bad habit. Reflect on the dissatisfaction it brings and the missed opportunities for growth. As you gradually shift your perspective, the habit loses its appeal.
In addition to these rules, Clear emphasizes the importance of setting clear goals, altering your system or context to support change, and ultimately transforming your identity. Remember, goals are about what you want, systems are about what you do, but identity is about who you are. By envisioning the person you wish to become, you can build a solid foundation for lasting change.
My dear friends, breaking a bad habit requires patience, self-compassion, and trust in the process. Change is not an overnight phenomenon, but rather a gradual evolution. Embrace the journey, celebrate small victories, and remain steadfast in your commitment to personal growth.
You possess the innate ability to break free from the shackles of unwanted habits. Believe in your capacity to change, and never underestimate the power of self-awareness and intentional action.
Embrace the challenge, my friends, and may your path to transformation be filled with resilience, courage, and joy.
Wishing you the best of luck on this incredible journey of self-discovery. Until next time, keep shining brightly!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Iuri Melo is the co-founder of Copilot and has been a Licensed Therapist for over 20 years. He’s seen thousands of people like you. He’s published two books (Mind Over Grey Matter & Know Thy Selfie), one of which was a best-seller. He’s won awards for his therapeutic work with individuals, and is just a hell of a guy! In his own words: “I adore people; I’m hopeful about people. I’m always amazed at people’s ability to grow, adapt, and expand into better living & thinking. My goal is to inspire deep positive change, and change always begins with bettering our own psychology, and that is what Copilot is all about!”